Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten announced during FanFest at Dodger Stadium that Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 will be retired during a special three-day celebration dubbed “Fernandomania” weekend from August 11-13 when they host the Colorado Rockies.
The festivities will kick off with the Ring of Honor ceremony prior to the series opener on Friday, followed by a collector’s edition bobblehead giveaway on Saturday and a replica Valenzuela 1981 World Series ring giveaway before Sunday’s finale.
“I am incredibly happy that number 34 for the Los Angeles Dodgers will be retired forever,” Kasten said in a statement.
“The one question that I continuously get asked, more than anything else, is about retiring Fernando Valenzuela’s number. The citywide call by our fans to honor him is truly remarkable. What he accomplished during his playing career, not only on the field but in the community, is extraordinary.
“He truly lit up the imaginations of baseball fans everywhere. It’s hard to envision a player having a greater impact on a fan base than the one Fernando has had.”
Valenzuela spent parts of 11 seasons with the Dodgers and is considered to be one of the most influential players in franchise history.
Despite this, his No. 34 remained unretired due to the organization’s unofficial policy of only retiring uniform numbers of players who were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The only exception is Jim Gilliam, whose No. 19 was retired two days after his sudden death in 1978.
Valenzuela’s No. 34 will now take its place among those previously retired and displayed on the left field club level. The group includes Pee Wee Reese (No. 1), Tommy Lasorda (No. 2), Duke Snider (No. 4), Gil Hodges (No. 14), Jim Gilliam (No. 19), Don Sutton (No. 20), Walter Alston (No. 24), Sandy Koufax (No. 32), Roy Campanella (No. 39), Jackie Robinson (No. 42) and Don Drysdale (No. 53), along with Hall of Fame broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrín.
“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said in a statement. “But also for the fans — the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.
“I’m happy for all the fans and all the people who have followed my career. They’re going to be very excited to know that my No. 34 is being retired.”
Fernando Valenzuela career with Dodgers
Valenzuela was a six-time All-Star, the 1981 National League Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award winner, and part of two World Series teams in his 11 seasons with the Dodgers. In his 17-year Major League career, the left-hander won 173 games and yielded a 3.54 ERA.
Valenzuela retired from baseball in 1997 and has spent the past 18 seasons as a Spanish-language color commentator for the Dodgers.
Despite not being part of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Valenzuela was inducted into the Mexican baseball Hall of Fame in 2014. He also was among the players named to the inaugural “Legends of Dodger Baseball” class in November 2018.
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